Did you know that half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease? In developing countries, about 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions. 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease. Clean and safe water is essential to healthy living. Dirty water kills thousands of more children living in war zones than bombs or bullets, with children under 15 roughly three times more likely to die due to diarrheal diseases than direct violence.

According to a damning Unicef report, a total of 86,00 children died from diarrheal-related illnesses in 16 countries facing protracted conflict, compared to nearly 31,000 who died from violence. Sadly it is the youngest children who are most vulnerable to crumbling sanitation infrastructure and water scarcity. Diarrheal diseases killed 72,000 children under five in war zones between 2014 and 2016 – a figure 20 times higher than the 3,400 deaths from violence.

“Humans can run away and take shelter from bullets and bombs,” Omar El Hattab, Unicef regional chief of water, sanitation, and hygiene in the Middle East and North Africa, told The Telegraph. “But when we are deprived of water, we end up withering away or drinking sewage, we will drink any kind of water.

“Access to clean water is a matter of life and death.”

In the last ten years, more humans died from diarrhea than in all armed conflicts since World War II.

352 m humans in Africa (88 % of the cases worldwide) come down with malaria every year.

312 m humans in Africa come down with schistosomiasis, of which 119 m are children under the age of 15.

208 m humans in Africa (52 % of the cases worldwide) come down with trachoma every year, of which 6 m are already blind.

5 m humans die from water-related diseases every year. Among them are 1.5 m children every year; that is 4,000 children every day.

78 % of the cases of schistosomiasis worldwide appear in Africa.

Polluted drinking water is one of the main reasons for the early death of children. Wherever clean water and sanitary facilities are missing, pathogens and parasites spread particularly fast. That leads to the transmission of numerous diseases. Many of these diseases lead to death in connection with malnutrition and other diseases.